Last Saturday, 28 March 2009 was Earth Hour. Is your house light off?
I didn't expect my father to understand. After all, I explained to him why I chose to wash my car with 2 buckets of water instead of using the hose. I speak about how we need to conserve energy and water for the future generation or how we should reduce the use of plastic bags. He never gets it. I was contented that during Earth Hour, I can turned off all power except for the living room, where he will sits in. So it was to my surprise that at about 8.00pm on Earth Hour day, he asked if we can at least leave the fan on. I pondered and told him the switching off the light exercise of Earth Hour is not mandatory and to my delight, he said he knows but he wanted to play a part. What a surprise indeed.It also happened that I needed to visit a client's house to pick up a cheque. I arrived just as the clock struck 8.30pm and his place is lit with but 2 candles. Mind you, his wife just gave birth 3 months ago but they are still doing their parts.
I read of 2 Earth Hour events taking place in Malaysia that night. Host for one the event Stephanie Chai said it best when she reminded us that Earth Hour is not about saving that one hour worth of energy all around the world, even if that amount is quite significant. Rather, it's about creating awareness and getting more people to participate in all effort to preserve earth. Another host, Lina Teoh mentioned she would prefer to drive an ecologically friendly car but she could not afford one (hey, is she fishing for sponsorship?). But lets share some facts. The most environmentally friendly car available in Malaysia is probably the Honda Civic Hybrid, initially introduced with a price tag of about RM180,000 (about USD49,300). If I have any reader from outside Malaysia, they probably wonder why the Civic costs so much here in Malaysia but that would be story for another day. Back to Lina Teoh, probably one of the most recognised face in the country and she said she can't afford a Honda. That is so sad to hear since it really leave us wondering about the rest of us ordinary people. Sigh.
Speaking of Honda, there was also an Earth Hour special pullout in a local newspaper and Honda was one of its sponsors. One of only two sponsors that took part in fact, which I guess strongly imply environmental awareness in Malaysia is still very low and any dedication to save the earth may in fact be a weak selling point for any company seeking to compete in the local market. Double sigh. The other sponsor was Bonuslink, with its GM speaking passionately about the importance of doing everything we can to preserve the earth and that even as individual, each of our affort can make a difference. He also expressed how much he hated seeing people using more toilet paper that is necessary. seriuosly, that really do make a difference. I saw once a young man pulled out 3 pieces of tissue paper from the tissue box of a foodstall, crumbled them all and wipe his mouth in one quick swipe before discarding them. Was that necessary? I usually used only half. But such is the mentality of Asian in general. If it's free, use as much as you like, even more than you need. They thought it's only right, since they already paid for the food, they are entitled to use as much as they like. I just think that was a lack of class.
Back to Earth Hour. The day has passed but if you love Earth, everyday can be Earth Hour. For those of us who can yet afford a Honda Civic Hybrid, there is so much more we can still do:
Don't leave the tap running as we brush our teeth.
Use products - personal or household that create none or minimal damage to the environment.
Reduce use of plastic bag whenever possible.
Reduce usage of any paper - tissue paper, cups, etc.
Basically reduce or stop using anything disposable.
Well, you don't expect me to list down everything right? Go on. Show you care.